Last Weekend of August + Weekly Workouts

Monday, Monday, Monday. Oy vey. Did you at least have a good weekend? I did! Hopefully the goodness from the weekend can spill over into this week, as I start to gear up for school (mixed feelings about that), fall, and getting into a normal routine once again (I am pretty excited about that, I’m a sucker for a routine, and that may be the most lame thing I’ve ever said). Here’s a look into my weekend!

On Friday, I grocery shopped and made a freaking bomb salad. We had a little leftover grilled chicken and deli turkey, so I sliced both of those up and threw them on top of spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, and mushrooms. I topped it off with some balsamic vinaigrette and enjoyed it on the porch.

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I worked Friday night, and then went out for a co-worker’s 21st birthday. She had a grand ol’ time, and it was fun to go out with work friends. It’s nice to see everyone outside of the work setting (and not wearing all black).

Saturday-day was pretty low-key. I woke up at 9:40 and had this urge to go to yoga. Of course, the class started at 10 and the studio is 15-20ish minutes away from my house. By some miracle, I got my butt into a “comfortable seated position” on my mat just a few minutes later than class started. Double miracle, the class wasn’t crowded at all, so I could just saunter over to the first empty area I found and not make anyone move around for my rude, late self. Triple miracle, this was one of the best yoga classes I’ve been to in a while. A lot of it definitely had to do with my mood, I was just so down to downward dog that morning. I also was able to get into bird of paradise for the first time! I realize this is probably a pretty easy, basic pose for most people, but I am literally the least flexible person ever so it was kind of a big deal for me.

Apparently, this weekend was the weekend of salads. I was going up to my friend’s beach house in York, ME for an “end of summer” party that night, and made a quick salad for dinner before I left.

Runny yolks + salad dressing = deliciousness

I also grabbed a random sweet potato when I went grocery shopping, and had that on the side. I made it in the microwave because I’m lazy, but I definitely want to get experimental with sweet potatoes as fall hits and sweet potatoes are everywhere I plan on cooking with them more.

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Sweet potato + pepper + smoked paprika + adobo = more deliciousness

I had a GR8 time at the party. So great that I didn’t actually remember to take any pictures, whoops. Let’s just say I drank some vodka sodas, hung out with friends, danced my butt off (Tay Tay and Nicki were on the playlist, couldn’t resist), and ate “slutty” brownies (brownies with OREOS inside, holy crap) and homemade pizza.

Sunday morning, I headed home and napped a bit (I wasn’t hungover, just tired), and then went to Assembly Row in Sommerville (a city right outside of Boston for those of you not really in the Boston area) with Maddie. Assembly Row is a new, super nice shopping area. While I wasn’t into a lot of the stores there (most of them were pretty expensive/for an older, more professional crowd than Maddie and I), it was fun to walk around on such a nice day.

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Not gonna lie, asking random people to take pictures of you is never not awk.

After we finished (mostly window) shopping, we grabbed dinner at a restaurant in Assembly Row, Earl’s Kitchen and Bar. Continuing my salad streak, I ordered the Santa Fe Chicken salad, which had grilled chicken, feta, avocado, black beans, corn, and greens with peanut vinaigrette dressing. OMG it was so good. As a salad connoisseur, I can definitely say it was one of the best salads I’ve had in quite some time.

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Mountain of great-salad-ness.

Of course, Maddie and I couldn’t not stop at JP Licks when there was one right in Assembly Row. I got a cup of PB Chip fro-yo (trying to be a bit more healthy since going completely crazy during my half marathon week). It was bomb, obvi.

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After getting home, I ended the night with a solid strength-training session at the gym. I felt like I could conquer the world as I was on my way home. I don’t always feel that way after working out, but it is such a great feeling when I do!

Speaking of working out, here’s my week of workouts. I didn’t really have a plan going into the week, I just kind of did what I felt like doing. While that was good for the post-half marathon week, I think I need to get back into having a weekly plan now that my life is going to get a bit more hectic.

MONDAY: Rest

TUESDAY: Hot yoga

WEDNESDAY: Total body strength at the gym

THURSDAY: First post-half marathon run! 3.4 miles (8:47 pace) + PopSugar butt workout (that wasn’t very challenging, probably won’t do it again) + Caroline Jordan ab workout (that was very challenging, probably will do again)

FRIDAY: 3.8 mile run (9:04 pace) + Blogilates “Booty Booty Booty” workout (one of my faaaaaves) + Blogilates 5 minute ab workout

SATURDAY: Hot yoga

SUNDAY: Total body strength at the gym

PS: I’m linking up my weekend recap with Erin from Her Heartland Soul. Thanks for hosting!

Questions for you lovely humans:

1. If you could put together your dream salad, what would be in it? Honestly, I may just be on the post-Santa Fe Chicken Salad high, but I think that would be it. Maybe I’d throw in some tomatoes and red onion as well, but that was darn near perfect.

2. What are some sweet potato recipes you’re into? I like easy 🙂

3. Did you watch the VMAs/should I watch them? I missed them last night. I love my girl Milerz, but are they actually worth watching? Should I just check out the highlights?

BYEEEEE

Julie

Friday Favorites #4: Front Row Fitness and Gearing up for Fall

Happy FriYAY everyone! I’m super excited for this weekend. A friend is having an “end of summer” party at his beach house tomorrow night, and, like all of his parties have been in the past, I’m hoping for a fun-filled night!

Here are a few of my Friday Favorites. I’m just realizing it’s been a while since I’ve actually done a Friday Favorites post…whoops. I hope this one is so amazing it makes up for the weeks I’ve missed (on second thought, please, don’t get your hopes up).

I’ll be linking up my favorites with Heather, Clare, and Jill. Thanks for hosting!

FRONT ROW OF YOGA

A couple weeks ago, I arrived to yoga late, and found that the only spots available were in the front row. I was always a back or middle row yogi, but I had no other options. To the front row it was. Much to my surprise, I actually really liked being in the front row. I was always self-conscious of people looking at/judging me if I was in the front row (I am, admittedly, not the most advanced when it comes to yoga), but it had the opposite effect. It seemed as though since I couldn’t see other people in front of me, I forgot that people behind me might be looking at me. I actually felt more connected in class than I ever had before. In fact, the next time I went to yoga I choose to park my mat in the front row!

BACK TO SCHOOL/FALL CLOTHES

Okay, I’m super sad about summer ending, but fall is my favorite season to buy clothes for. I’m all about sweaters, boots, scarves, and all that jazz. I started my fall clothes shopping at the Salvation Army (side note: I like thrifting…partly because I can find cool things and partly because everything is cheap and my clothes budget is pretty darn small).

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Yes, 3 out of 4 of these items are from the men’s section.

I grabbed a couple oversize cardigans plus an oversize cream sweater, all from the men’s section (truly the best place to look for cardigans and cozy sweaters IMO). I also grabbed a quarter-zip running/exercise fleece by the brand Alpine Design. I had never heard of the brand before, but after a quick Google search, it seems as though they’re a pretty reputable brand. I won’t be wearing the fleece for the next few weeks, but I know it will be perfect come fall and winter (when I end up layering 2-3 fleeces just to run outside and not on the dreadmill). Oh, all of this was like $11 in total. Score!

In addition to my thrifted finds, I also grabbed a pair of black ankle boots from Target (brand = Merona) that were on sale for $27. Once again, score! I’ve been in the market for black ankle boots since last fall, but I could never find the right ones, or the right ones were expensive AF. These are the right ones at the right price. Thank you, universe!

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My last score as of late are a pair of high-waisted BDG jeans from Urban Outfitters. I love  BDG jeans. They are tight-but-stretchy and perfectly high waisted (right below belly button on me), making them super flattering and awesome. Seriously, they make my butt look GR8.

Buy these. You won’t regret it. TRUST.

They were on sale at Urban for $39, and then I had 10% off thanks to UniDays (if you have a student email, definitely sign up for UniDays), plus I had free shipping with no minimum (usually it’s $50) thanks to the Urban On app, making my grand total $35ish. Definitely better than the original $64 price tag. Again, thank you, universe!

CAROLINE JORDAN 20 MINUTE AB VIDEO

One of the most challenging ab videos I’ve done in a while. Dooooo it!

COOL(ER) WEATHER

Not happy about summer leaving, but I have been liking the cooler morning weather and less humid all day weather. It has been making running much more enjoyable. I was actually planning on going to yoga this morning, but when I saw that it was a cool 61 degrees outside, I couldn’t pass up a run. Especially since the next week or so will be back to humid and 90s, which means I will be back to waking up even earlier to go for a run.

RED NAILPOLISH

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Clearly not the best at painting my nails.

Nothing says classy quite like red nail polish. Last night I wanted to bring out my inner classy broad and chose Sally Hansen Xtreme Ware nail polish (aka super cheap and pretty crappy) in the color Cherry Red. Now, I feel like I can conquer anything.

That concludes this week’s Friday Favorites. I hope everyone has a fantastic Friday and a wonderful weekend (apparently alliteration is a fave this week, too)!

Questions for you lovely humans:

1. What area of the room do you typically gravitate towards when taking a fitness class (yoga, spinning, barre, etc)? I definitely start in the back and work my way up as I get more comfortable/confident in my abilities (or when I show up late and realize the only available spot is in the front).

2. Have you started fall/back to school shopping yet?

3. What is the hardest workout you’ve done in a while?

BYEEEE

Julie

Workout Time of Day, Does it Matter?

Morning, afternoon, or nighttime. Does it actually matter when you work out? Recently, this has been weighing on my mind a bit. As the weather cools down and the only feasible time to run isn’t ass-o’clock early (literally the only good thing about the weather cooling down, stay forever summer, I’ll wake up early if I have to!), I’ve been noticing my workouts have all been being pushed to the afternoon or evening. For some reason, it seems as though working out in the morning is held to some sort of higher standard. Sure, I found that my long runs seem to work best in the morning, but I rocked out a super sweet run (first one post-half marathon) and butt/ab workout today at 5:00. I had originally planned to do this workout at 7 AM before work, but when my alarm went off and I was not having it, I knew I would have a much stronger workout if I just held off.

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Morning run vs. evening run. The views are pretty no matter what!

I am by no means swearing off morning workouts until next summer. Nor am I shaming religious morning-workouters (I realize many people need to workout then or it’s not happening, or they’re just morning people). I love getting my workout done in the morning and having the rest of the day to live my life. Like I said before, long runs (after toast and coffee) seem to work best for me when done in the wee hours of the morning. And, of course, there are days where literally the only time I have to get in a workout is in the morning. On those days, I get my ass outta bed and onto the pavement or into the gym. However, sometimes a morning workout isn’t going to happen, whether I’m tired, have something else to do super early, or am planning on going to a class in the afternoon/evening I know it’s not always feasible to fit in a workout before the day truly begins.

Sometimes staying in bed is the best thing for the zen. PS: Pls buy me this.

Anyway, why am I writing this? Honestly, I just wanted to get my thoughts out there. Yes, there are a lot of pros to working out in the morning, but if you know you can get a workout in later (one benefit of an early morning workout is that life is less likely to get in the way), then workout whenever the heck your heart wants! Yeah, yeah, some people say your metabolism is increased if you start your day off with exercise and blah, blah, blah, but if you were to do the same workout at 7 AM or 7 PM, you’re going to burn the same calories and reap the same muscle/endurance/whatever benefits. Additionally, if you’re super tired in the morning, you probably won’t end up working out as hard as if you had given yourself the extra hour or two of sleep and exercised later in the day (for example, I totally wouldn’t have run as hard at 7 AM when I was super tired than I did this afternoon, so I ended up getting a better workout). Really, you’re doing your body a solid by getting more sleep + getting more out of a workout because you’re not dead.

And for the times when a workout has to happen in the morning and you are soooo not down, maybe this is helpful?

Okay, so that was a super random, semi-stream-of-consciousness post. Basically I just wanted to put my thoughts out there, and see what others had to say, which brings me to questions for you lovely humans 🙂 :

1. Morning/afternoon/night, do you typically stick to one time frame or switch it up depending on your schedule for the day? I probably workout in the morning 50% of the time, and then split between afternoon/night depending on life.

2. Do you feel the same “mornings are superior” vibe around working out? Am I just crazy (probably)?

BYEEEEEE

Julie

WIAW #6: Day in the Life

Happy Wednesday! It’s been a little while since I’ve joined the WIAW party (hosted by Laura at Sprint 2 the Table, thanks girl 🙂 ), but I’m back and ready to parrrrr-tay once again! For this edition of WIAW, I wanted to do a “Day in the Life,” in which I’ll share my eats as well as a typical day in my shoes. I’m super nosy and love reading other bloggers’ “Day in the Life” posts, so why not share the (probs really boring) everyday activities of my life with the Internet? Plus, this could be fun to look back on in the future…or not.

8:50 AM-Alarm goes off. Lay in bed checking texts/email/social media on my phone because I don’t want to get out of bed.

8:54 AM-Get my butt out of bed, bathroom, wash face, put on work clothes, do hair and makeup. All that fun stuff.

9:16 AM-Breakfast. Reheat the PB banana overnight oats I prepped yesterday in the microwave for 45 seconds. Add blueberries on top because I’m feelin sassy.

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9:20 AM-Eat breakfast while catching up on blogs (my version of reading the morning paper).

9:39 AM-Brush teeth, pour iced coffee into my to-go cup, and head out the door for work.

9:57 AM-Punch in (3 minutes early! This is a sad accomplishment for me), do Host/take out person business for 4.5 hours.

2:31 PM-Punch out, drive co-worker home, drive myself home.

2:54 PM-Lunch. Make the “typical Julie” lunch: turkey wrap with spicy brown mustard + tomato + red bell pepper + salsa and a side salad.

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3:03 PM-Eat lunch while browsing the World Wide Web. End up eating baby carrots and hummus once I finish my sandwich because I was stilllllllll hungry.

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Plight of the very hungry Julie.

3:38 PM-Relax, get dressed and ready for yoga.

4:37 PM-Snack attack. Eat an apple as a pre-workout snack.

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4:50 PM-Leave for yoga, pick up Elizabeth on the way.

5:14 PM-Arrive at yoga, sit in hot room for 15 minutes chatting (quietly, obvi) with Elizabeth (we left so early because there’s usually a lot of traffic right around 5:00).

5:30 PM-Hot yoga. Pretty solid class, was definitely a workout, but good for my still-kinda-sore legs.

6:56 PM-Drive home, drop off Elizabeth, shower.

7:31 PM-Dinner. Reheat beef stir fry my dad made for dinner earlier. Added a little bit of garlic salt because I felt like it needed more flavor and garlic salt solves everything.

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7:57 PM-Do nothing. Well, basically just sit on the couch watching Netflix/YouTube/browsing the Internet. If my classes hadn’t ended already I’d be spending this time being productive and doing homework, but now that they’re over I’ve just been super unproductive.

10:08 PM-Snack attack. Eat cottage cheese +PB as per my usual dessert-type snack.

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10:22 PM-Write yesterday’s blog post.

11:06 PM-Snack attack. A couple spoonfuls of PB to end the day right.

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11:29 PM-Brush and floss my teeth, get ready for bed.

11:37 PM-Realize I forgot to make coffee to put in the fridge overnight for iced coffee in the morning (the easiest/best way to make iced coffee), so I quickly brew a pot while interneting to kill time.

11:45 PM-Retreat to my room for the night. I definitely fell asleep by midnight, which is mildly early for me. I’m hoping I can keep it up!

Well that was my day, pretty boring, but I worked, got a workout in, and ate pretty healthily throughout the day. I have a feeling if I do another “Day in the Life” post in the next couple months, I’ll probably be much busier because school will be in full swing. Until then, I am definitely enjoying my days spent relaxing!

Questions for you lovely humans:

1. What is your go-to spice to make anything taste better? For savory foods, the aforementioned garlic salt and/or smoked paprika, and for sweet foods, cinnamon.

2. If you’re an iced coffee lover, do you do the make-coffee-the-night-before-and-refrigerate method? I’m all about it. Much simpler the cold brewing, and makes the coffee much less watered-down than poring hot coffee over ice.

3. What’s your current Netflix-watching show? I’ve been watching Parks and Rec for like 3 years on Netflix, slowly going through as the new seasons are added.

BYEEEE

Julie

Non-Expert Half Marathon (or Other Big Race) Tips for the Non-Expert Runner

Okay, so I ran a half marathon, which means I’m basically an expert now, right? Totally. (Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert in anything running/fitness/health related. I am a girl who ran a half marathon. Once. And is now giving you some insight.)

Since I have reached self-proclaimed expert status (nope), I figured I’d share with you a few things to consider before/during/after a half marathon (or any sort of big race) experience.

Signing up:

  • Before even signing up, think about training. Most half marathon plans are about 10-12 weeks long, so decide around what time of the year is best for you training-wise. My typical workout schedule is pretty similar to a half marathon training plan already, so in that sense I could have basically signed up for one whenever I want. However, I had to take the weather into consideration. I originally wanted to sign up for a half in early April, but due to the insane amount of snow that hit New England this year, getting any training runs outside was nearly impossible (and doing a long run on a treadmill sounds worse than getting teeth pulled).
  • Once you do decide on the time of year you’re interested in, you can narrow down your race search on websites like halfmarathons.net, active.com, and runningintheusa.com.
  • Before you commit to a race, do a little bit of research on the course, maybe just a quick Google search of “(insert race) recap.” I really loved the race I did (Bluberry Cove 13.1) because it was super small and everyone was super nice, but I may not have chosen it had I known how hilly it was going to be. I didn’t realize that until after I signed up, and at that point there was no turning back.

During training:

  • Mostly stick to your training plan. By that, I mean definitely do the long runs on the week you determined to do the long run. The day of my long run switched around a bit (going from Sunday, to Tuesday, to Thursday), but I always completed the miles on the week I had them scheduled for.
  • Consider making your long run day a non-weekend day. I feel like most people and training schedules online have the long run on Saturday or Sunday. Obviously the weekend may be the only time a long run can be done for many people due to having 9-5 jobs and whatnot, but as an early-twenties gal, I find myself going out a lot on the weekends and working weird hours. Having a long run in the morning after a night out was rough. I couldn’t have as much fun and stay out as late with friends because I knew I had ___ miles to run bright and early, and then when bright and early came I hated everything. It worked out better for me to get my long runs done on a weekday morning before work, leaving shorter,  doesn’t-have-to-be-done-super-early-due-to-weather workouts for the weekend.
  • Also, consider having your long run at the beginning of your “training week.” I’ve also noticed many schedules have the long run as the last day in the weekly training cycle. For my first couple weeks of training, I found that my legs just weren’t feeling a long run, since they hadn’t had any rest for the past 6 days. I decided to switch up my training schedule, and have a long run after my rest day, and usually do a hot yoga class, or something less intense, the following day.
  • Foam roll and stretch. A lot. I tried to foam roll and stretch at least three times a week. Usually at night before going to bed. That seriously improved my running/recovery time immensely. Caroline Jordan has some great foam rolling/stretching for runners videos on her channel, and I would highly recommend them!

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  • Experiment with gels/chews on your long runs. My favorite were Clif Shot Bloks, but find what works best for you. They definitely keep you from losing steam as your mileage increases.

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  • GET A RUNNING FANNY PACK. They’re amazing and super kewl. Hydration on the go = rad.

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 It’s a love story, baby just say yes.

Race Day

  • Get everything set the night before. Know what the weather will be, what you’ll be wearing, what you’ll be eating, and set it all out so that your (likely quite early) pre-race morning will be smooth. If you have to stay in a hotel or somewhere other than your house the night before the race, bring your usual breakfast with you. Sure, it may feel weird throwing a mason jar of coffee and a piece of bread in your suitcase, but race morning you will be super happy you did.
  • Try to poop (thank you starting line port-a-potty).
  • Don’t rush. Get there early. This is coming from someone who is always late (yes, I am that person, I hate me too). I got to the starting line fairly early and was really happy about it.
  • HAVE FUN. Super lame advice, I know, but seriously. This is your race, today is your day, your mountain is waiting, so…oh, wait. No, but really, you trained hard, you’re prepared, you are a rockstar. Run your little heart out.

Post Race:

  • Try to eat something light and easy on the stomach post race. Similar to what you’d eat after a long run. At the race I ran, there was a brunch right after. I should have gone with oatmeal and fruit, but I went right for the home fries and breakfast pizza. My tummy hurt for a while after, and I probably would have felt a lot better had I gone for something more akin to what I usually eat.

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Never thought there’d be a time in my life where I would wish I had a smoothie bowl over home fries.

  • Take a day off. You’re going to be sore. Possibly more sore than after a normal long run. You ran a killer race and you deserve that rest day. Do nothing and revel in it.

Okay, so that’s about it for my advice. Take it with a grain of salt, and let me know if you have any advice for future races as well!

Questions for you lovely humans:

1. How strictly did you follow your initial training plan? I followed mine pretty spot-on. I changed the day of my long run, but I’d always do the prescribed long run for the week. I also kept up with two shorter runs + 2 strength training days + 1 yoga day a week pretty well.

2. What is your ideal post race meal? Mine is totes a protein smoothie bowl, and apparently is not breakfast pizza and home fries.

3. What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book? Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, for sure.

BYEEEEE

Julie

The Finish Line: Blueberry Cove Half Marathon Recap

I DID IT. I ran a half marathon. In 2 hours and 7 minutes (give or take, not sure of the official time yet). HOLLA/HALLELUJAH/YAS.

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Special thanks to the running fanny pack.

Let me take a quick moment to be completely not at all humble. I am so freaking proud of myself and truly cannot believe I accomplished a half marathon. Just a few years ago, I could barely eek out a mile without wanting to die (*take a look at me now plays in background*).

Before I get into the race, let’s back it up to the day before real quick. I went up to Tenant’s Harbor, ME with my fellow racers/friends, Maddie and Willie. Obviously, we began our journey at a nearby diner for breakfast, Maddie’s. I got a veggie omelet with home fries and wheat toast. Totes hit the spot and got me ready for the 3+ hour car ride we had ahead of us.

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Maddie at Maddie’s, HAH.

Since we were traversing into the great state of Maine, we couldn’t resist making a few stops. Of course, as soon as we got to Maine we made a quick trip to the Kittery Trading Post (Willie had never been before) which is like a hunting/fishing/all things Maine superstore. They have a giant taxidermy moose right at the entrance. They also have really good fudge there.

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This moose tells you everything you need to know about the store you’re walking into.

Along our journey, we made a quick stop in some random town to the world’s smallest Hannaford to grab snacks, as well as a pawn shop that had an enticing sign outside, so we couldn’t resist.

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“Where are we?”

Finally, we arrived at our Bed and Breakfast (the Mill Pond House, would totes recommend if you’re in the area), and made the 5 minute drive to the race start/finish line to grab our bibs (number 128, holla).

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We also headed to the lighthouse that was the original reason we signed up for the race just to check it out.

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The lighthouse totes lived up to the hype.

My parents were also staying in the area (after 2 years of my dad saying he wanted to see me run a race, he finally got his chance), and they kindly took us out to dinner in Rockport, which had a super cute downtown. We ended up at Rustica, an Italian restaurant, where I got the most amazing pasta of my life: Penne alla Bolognese. I rarely order pasta dishes when I am going out to eat, but holy canoli I am so happy I did. It was pasta with a bolognese meat sauce, pesto, and ricotta cheese. I would 10000000% recommend it.

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Carboloading.

Maddie, Willie, and I went back to our B & B after dinner, watched My Date With the President’s Daughter, and ate fudge before turning in for the night. At 6:30 AM, our alarms went off and it was go-time. I got dressed, ate my typical pre-long run breakfast (toast + banana + PB + small cup of coffee), and we were at Blueberry Cove by 7:00. We had 30 minutes before the start time, so I took the opportunity to use the Port-a-Potty and stretch before the runners were asked to make their way to the starting line.

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Ready to RUNble.

After a few quick words, a cowbell was rung (bless this race) and we were off to the races. I made sure to pace myself in the beginning. I did not want to get swept up in all the race excitement and told myself I was running this race for me, not to beat anyone else.  I should also mention that the weather was cool but rainy. It mostly was just a drizzle or light shower, but for at least half the race (I kind of stopped paying attention) it was raining. I totally didn’t mind, honestly it probably kept me cool more than anything else. Plus, running through the rain made me feel kind of badass.

Anyway, after the first mile or so, everyone kind of fell into a line and their own pace. I was just trucking along, passing a few people, having a few people pass me, and enjoying myself. There were water stops every 2 miles or so, and I walked through each of those because drinking water out of a cup while running is impossible, but otherwise, I did not stop running. The course was tough, I won’t lie. It was hilly. I can’t remember a point in which I was running on flat land, it was either uphill or downhill the whole way. Luckily, most of the hills were pretty small or gradual.

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Me + fanny pack at the far right. I think my mom wanted it to be blurry to represent the rainy running haze everyone was in.

As I passed the mile markers, the finish line became more and more real. Mile 4-6 were a bit challenging just because by the point I had been running for a while, but I wasn’t even halfway finished (Maddie and Willie agreed with me on that sentiment). Mile 7 was exciting because I knew I was more than halfway there and felt strong. I was confident I could finish.

Mile 7 also brought a few steep hills. We were making our way towards the lighthouse, and I guess that means steep hills? Whatever the case may be, I got over those babies and had a nice cruise down the other end. Seeing the lighthouse was a boost because it was a big factor in choosing the race.

I kept on keeping on for the next few miles, and then came across the mile 11 marker. It was exciting and nerve racking because at that point, I had hit my distance PR. My legs were tired, but I had 2 more miles in me, no problem. Unfortunately, those last 2 miles we completely uphill. It was a slow, gradual uphill, but on tired-already-run-11-miles legs, it was rough. The last 2 miles were by far the most challenging part of the race for me. I kept telling myself that there was no way I was stopping to walk at that point, no matter how much I wanted to. I got a little mean with myself, but it worked. I never stopped running.

I finally turned on to the street that the Blueberry Cove camp/finish line was off of, and thought I only had a short ways to run, so I picked up my speed. I even passed a couple people. Unbeknownst to me, it was still about a 1/2 mile to the finish (going uphill, of course). Had I been aware of the length between me and the finish line, I probably wouldn’t have kicked it into high gear that far away. However, I kept running at my increased pace because I just wanted that finish line. Rounding the corner into Bluberry Cove, everyone started clapping and cheering. I saw the finish line, my parents, and the clock (which was reading 2:07, I believe), and sprinted.

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The only “finish line” picture of me. Obvi I was going too fast for my mom to snap a pic before I stopped…right? (no but really, thanks mom for all the pictures 🙂 )

“I can’t believe I just did that,” was the only thing I could say to my parents between guzzing water and huffing and puffing. I was truly in awe. According to RunKeeper, I kept a 9:43 pace (which may actually be a second or two too high, because it took a a little bit to press stop due to sweaty/rainy hands). I truly have never been more proud of myself. I couldn’t stop thinking about how long I’ve wanted to run a half marathon (it was actually a New Year’s resolution of mine), and the fact that I actually did it is just so freaking awesome.

I was so proud of Maddie and Willie too. We all finished, we never stopped running, and we had a super fun weekend.

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We were all dying on the inside when my mom took this.

After the race, there was a brunch for the runners. The food didn’t look great, but I did have a slice of breakfast pizza (pizza crust + cheese, eggs, and home fries), and more home fries on the side. I kind of wish I ate something a little easier on my stomach, like oatmeal and fruit (which they did have at the brunch), because that wasn’t feeling great afterward, but I can’t resist pizza in any form.

Since the brunch was pretty disappointing, we headed to a diner for breakfast round two after showering and checking out of our hotel. I wanted something simple and went for an egg (over easy) with home fries (looking back, I ate a lot of home fries this weekend), bacon, and wheat toast.

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Ignore the bit of toast and already eaten orange slice. I don’t know how that happened…

We embarked on the journey home, stopping for ice cream along the way, of course. I got home, foam rolled and stretched a bit, and went to bed pretty early.

This morning, my legs are definitely feeling it, especially my left hip and calf. I plan on taking today completely off, and maybe doing yoga or something not intense tomorrow if I’m feeling it tomorrow.

Overall, it was an AMAZING experience. I definitely want to run another half marathon in the future, though I will definitely try to find one that his less hilly. I plan on making a “things to know before running a half marathon” post tomorrow, so be on the lookout!

Also, I’m linking up my weekend/race adventures with Katie and Erin. Thanks for hosting!

Phew, that was a lot of words. Obvi, I have some questions for you lovely humans though!

1. What is the exercise-related thing you’re most proud of?

2. After a big race, how long does it usually take you to get back into the swing of things? I’m happy I’m taking today completely off (wasn’t even scheduled for work, woohoo!), and I’m hoping I’ll be fully recovered in a few days.

3. What is your go-to breakfast order at a diner? Clearly, mine is anything that involves home fries.

BYEEEEEE

Julie

Happy Half Marathon Eve!

‘Twas the day before my half marathon and all through the house…I was stirring everywhere making sure I’m ready to rock and run tomorrow.

Okay, I kind of lost the poetic nature of that halfway through, but YES tomorrow is half marathon go-time. I’ll be running the Blueberry Cove Half Marathon in Tenant’s Harbor, ME tomorrow morning. I’m all packed and about to take the 3-hour trip up to the area with my friends Maddie and Willie, who are running it as well.

How I’m Feeling: I’m weirdly superstitious and don’t want to jinx anything be saying “oh, I’m totally gonna rock it.” With that being said, I feel good about my training. By the end of my last long run (11 miles), I felt like I could have churned out two more. I’ve definitely improved on pacing myself and not starting off with a bang because that only results in me ending with a fizzle. I’m aware of when I should eat my fuel (officially decided on Clif Shot Bloks), and, perhaps most importantly, I know there are multiple port-a-potties dispersed along the route (still haven’t figured out how to not have an instance of runners trots during a long run). Also, I made a packing list because I was nervous I’d forget a necessary race item. Maybe it’s a little much, but writing lists helps me when I’m anxious.

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Biggest worries: My two biggest concerns at the moment are the weather and the hilly course. Luckily, the high tomorrow in Tenant’s Harbor is only 75 degrees, and we start at 7:30 to beat the “heat.” Unfortunately, according to weather.com, it’s supposed to be pretty humid. I’ve done my fair share of long runs in early-morning humidity, but I’m not gonna lie, I’d definitely feel better with a less humid forecast. In terms of the course, the one Blueberry Cove race review I read (before stopping because it made me anxious) said that the course was super hilly. By that point I had signed up and I wasn’t about to go find a different race, but maybe I should have done more research on the course before choosing the race (Maddie and I legit only chose Blueberry Cove because there is a lighthouse along the course that looked really pretty). My neighborhood, where I do most of my running, is pretty hilly, so I’m kind-of used to hills. I suppose we’ll see just how used to hills I am tomorrow!

Not sure if I’ll find this as pretty when I’m huffin and puffin tomorrow (image source).

Goals: I just want to finish. Honestly, that’s the biggest goal. I don’t have a goal time or pace, I just want to cross that finish line. Ideally, I would run the whole thing (not counting a bathroom break(s)) without stopping to walk. However, if I have to walk for a minute or two, then I have to walk for a minute or two. If I can cross that finish line, I will feel like I’ve accomplished something. I’ve been working my whole summer towards this goal. I’ve made it this far, so 13.1 miles is, like, nothing, right?

Post-Half Plan: Like I said, I’ve pretty much spent most of the summer training for this race. Recently, I’ve started to think about how my workouts will be once I’m not in training anymore. Probably pretty similar. I want to try and have one long-ish run a week, and I may try to add in more HIIT (my faaaaave…ugh) in addition to strength training. I plan on running a couple shorter-distance races in the fall, and I want to work on getting faster. I have no idea how to do speedwork and whatnot (advice would be greatly appreciated), but that could be an interesting addition to my routine.

Well, those are my thoughts going into the Half. Once again, if I can cross that finish line, I will be happy. My training has gotten me this far, now it’s up to my feet to get me the rest of the way (cue Born to Die by Lana Del Rey…feet don’t fail me now, take me to the finish line). I’m nervous and excited and overall ready to do this thing!

Questions for you lovely humans:

1. What were your feelings like going into your first big race?

2. How can I incorporate speedwork and things into my routine? I really have no idea where to begin with that.

3. What is your favorite bad joke? Just felt like lightening the mood a little. Mine is: Why did the golfer wear two pairs of pants? In case he got a hole in one! HAH…I have a special place in my heart for bad jokes/puns 🙂

BYEEEEE

Julie